“Shinyo Maru”, T.K.K. Line, c. 1920-1930.
“TEN THOUSAND MILES AROUND THE PACIFIC
“For the last fifty kilometres the descent is very gentle, and as we approached Lima fields of maize, cotton, and sugar cane appeared on either side of the track. ‘Desamparados’, the Lima station, was reached at six forty-five, and the hotel at seven p.m., to learn that our Japanese steamer, the Hong Kong Maru, was already at anchor in Callao harbour. It was not until Monday, March 17 , that we sailed; about three p.m. we got into a small rowing-boat with all our belongings, and bade farewell to Peruvian soil, which we had first trodden three years and one month before—February 17, 1910.
“Our course was almost due north, parallel with the coast, and our first port Salina Cruz in Mexico. The weather was very good on the whole, and what breeze there was we had on our side of the ship, so our cabin was not unbearably hot, even when crossing the Line. We saw quite a lot of marine life —sharks, whales, porpoises, and sword fish, the last leaping in the air, apparently in order to attack some foe beneath the surface.
“… There are very few first- and second class European passengers. We had a few for Mexican ports, including a party of Arabs; but now we are reduced to about a dozen. There are a number of Japanese and Chinese returning with the spoils of the New World to their native land, and in the steerage crowds of the same nationalities. The officers and men are all Japanese, and seem a very nice set of men. The officers are very anxious to converse with the children so as to improve their English.
“… The Hong Kong Maru is fitted with a wireless installation, and since leaving the Mexican ports we have had a bulletin of world’s news posted up almost daily. At first we were in touch with San Francisco, and later with Honolulu. We thus know the scores in various baseball matches, details of the Pope’s illness, Suffragette doings, and lately the agitation in Japan created by the proposed alien legislation in California. It appears that in Tokio the people are clamouring for war.
“The food on board is served in European fashion, though especially in the second class there is a well-marked sub stratum of rice and fish. However, the Japanese officers and passengers say that they much prefer their own food, and every now and then Japanese dinner is provided—sometimes in the saloon, some times in the smoking-room, or, passing a cabin, one will catch a glimpse of a party squatting round and absorbing rice and odds and ends with the aid of chop sticks. We had a try at Japanese dinner one evening—chop-sticks, rice, beans, raw fish, radish, and some clammy rice sandwiches; total result, rather an empty feeling and a nasty taste in one’s mouth. An experiment not worth repeating, on board ship at any rate. Probably the same food would taste much better on shore.”
– “Ten Thousand Miles Around the Pacific”, by A.T. French, The Magazine of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, July 1913